Investing in foreign workers is good business sense

21 March 2007
Investing in foreign workers is good business sense

David Hunter, director of Matfen Hall hotel in Northumberland, believes paying for foreign staff's English lessons is ethical and good business sense.

We're a Northumberland employer whose business could not survive without employing non-UK citizens.

Despite this, I feel that controversial government proposals announced in January to axe funding entitlement of basic English lessons for certain categories of foreign workers is right.

If the needs of a company are best served by employing non-British staff - whether because of labour costs, or a lack of suitable locally-born staff - it should surely be fully prepared to provide the necessary training.

If that includes English lessons, then so be it. To that end it's something we have done ourselves for the past two years.

The result of these informal lessons with a local teacher is that foreign staff are better prepared to provide for guests' needs and able to respond to them on a personal level. It has also helped employees from across the world gain a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the business, as well as the rules and regulations that govern it.

Health and Safety compliance has also improved as a result of the language lessons, and the employment potential and prospects of employees have been enhanced as a result.

All of this is of a benefit to the employer. Jobs get well done, people get more from their work as the

ir skills improve and we have seen staff turnover drop 8% during the period as people respond to the investment in their needs.

Life, after all, is about choices - the choice to come to the UK by a foreign worker, and the choice to employ them by us. Once the choices have been made, the company, not the community, should pay.

Matfen Hall hotel triumphs in Enjoy England Awards >>

Case study: How Matfen Hall acheives staff turnover of just 8% >>

Best Places to Work: Matfen Hall >>

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